More ponderings on nothing new but the glue... Looking for ideas really...

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Blog entry by dbhost posted 04-07-2010 10:55 PM 1430 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Yes I am using this more or less as a platform to encourage folks to do their part in taking waste and making it something wonderful.

But what are the sources of waste wood that folks are using to keep the stuff out of the landfill? I would like to start, and would greatly appreciate other folks chiming in with their suggestions…

#1. Tree Services. While some do sell logs and such to mills, or cut up and sell wood as firewood. Many simply chuck the wood into a chipper the off to the landfill with it. I rescued a bit of Pecan this past spring by simply asking the tree service guys if they could just toss the log in 6’ sections into the bed of my pickup… Hurricane Ike provided ample source for such wood as well…

#2. Construction waste. I can’t begin to tell you how many perfectly good, full, undamaged and unused 2x-whatevers, and partial sheets of plywood I have gotten from construction dumpsters. Again, just ask the guys if you see them throwing the stuff out as they clean up. Offer to take some of it off their hands. It costs THEM money to throw it out anyway…

#3. Discarded solid wood furniture. Like I mentioned before Waterbeds are a good source. Old Church Pews, and other LARGE span furnishings are good sources as long as they are solid wood and not veneer over plywood or OSB…

#4. Pallets. I have not done this one out of fear of contaminants that could have gotten into the wood. But if you can find a safe source, say food service delivery pallets or something similar, they make a GREAT source of useful wood.

#5. Project mistakes. I doubt I am the only one that screws things up, then holds on to the project mistakes and re-uses the material…

So what say you guys. What other sources can you think of for keeping perfectly good wood out of the landfill?

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

9 comments so far

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3315 days

#1 posted 04-07-2010 11:22 PM

We create lots of scraps in my door shop. I feel bad about throwing it away, but there isn’t much we can do. I can’t store it, however, we encourge hobbiests to take anything they want. We see lots of guys raiding the dumpster after hours. It makes me feel better to know it is used. Larger pieces we place on pallets and sell to craft people, or maybe give it to school shops. We even give some to the local prison. The 2×4s and 4×4s that our lumber is stacked on frequently becomes firewood at home. Exotic scraps end up in my jigs or in small projects. Of course these don’t end up in my dumpster, but close friends sometimes benefit.


View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4179 posts in 3194 days

#2 posted 04-08-2010 12:41 AM

A piece of my TS switch that I built came from a salvaged floor molding from the kitchen, put there in 1985, I think, or 1991. I had made it out of 3/4 inch red oak, just rounded over the top with the router, and varnished it. It was there for 6 years or so, and then we remodeled again and I kept the molding and have slowly used it up in things. So removed moldings and other decorative items in the house like columns or wainscoting etc might be useful.

I have used old sheet wood paneling for all kinds of objects, facing the backside out, meaning the part with unadorned wood. My bit box top that is part of Tommy tote, the electrically focused 20 year old tote, was made from that.

Of course the handle on my sled is a piece of construction waste from 1985, when I installed a new railing when we refurbished before moving in.

Now if only I was allowed to use the piles, and I mean piles of Jatoba stored in my garage awaiting the next remodel…(-:

OK, I am now going off topic, but I can’t resist. In preparation for the audio needs of my second year in college, 1960, I cobbled together some old electronic stuff. I was the ultimate poor student. I didn’t buy a single thing and I had no and I mean no power tools. I took an old plastic bodied tube table top radio, and a cheap old record changer that had an amplifier and a 4×6 speaker. I made a wooden speaker enclosure from some scrap for the 4×6 speaker, and painted it. Then I made a soldered together metal enclosure for the table top radio, and threw out its speaker. Then I tapped into the amplifer circuit in the changer, and fed the radio into it through a toggle switch, toggling between either radio or phono. Seems to me I tapped both components at the volume control. Then I put the phono changer minus its speaker into another wooden enclosure. At that point I had the world’s most primitive component audio system. Much better speaker, the changer was OK with its tube mono amplifer, probably developing 5 watts, at most. And the radio fed the much better changer amplifier, which fed the separate speaker. Two new wood enclosures, one soldered metal enclosure, and all from scrap, with hand tools, at zero cost.

Thinking about it, I suspect the wood for the two enclosures came from peach crates, that my mother got peaches, pears, etc in for canning. I cannot remember where I got the metal, probably from some other old electronic salvage thing, put together with a tin snips and big electric soldering iron my dad had. I was taught tin smithing in junior high school.

Off topic…....but it does exemplify the spirit…......doesn’t it?..........(-:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View TwistedRedneck's profile


41 posts in 3521 days

#3 posted 04-08-2010 02:56 AM

Well, not what I do but what I should do i guess. I had thought about using my saw dust in the planters, mixed with the dirt. Tried to use it as a fill between brick even but two strikes so far. Mostly it is a battle between me and the fire pit. I like some of your ideas posted here and may try some of them.

Not a big fan of the pallet thing. Though you can get some good wood out of it if you are willing to do the extra work. Tried it but that was before I had a planer. Now I am very protective of what goes through it. Learned that one the hard way as well with wood I was recycling from various remodeling locations.

However I have a wood/metal/electricity stud finder I use on everything before I place it in the planer or on the table saw. It is not perfect but it does catch most of what I cant see.

-- Nails are better wood fasteners than screws, if both are applied using a hammer.

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 3556 days

#4 posted 04-08-2010 04:44 AM

Ideas something like this:

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View dbhost's profile


5726 posts in 3261 days

#5 posted 04-08-2010 04:52 AM

Keep the ideas coming guys. I’m not aiming for an earth day prize or anything of that sort, just looking for ideas on how to make the best of the resources already effectively aimed toward the waste bin anyway…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4179 posts in 3194 days

#6 posted 04-08-2010 04:57 AM

Pretty impressive, you have a leg up on us…..............

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3138 days

#7 posted 04-08-2010 10:54 AM

Good post dbhost (I always feel like I am trying to be a ‘poet and didn’t know it’ when I say that :).

Waste was a capital crime in my house when growing up. My mom had too many memories of growing up in a coal mining, very poor, rural area in Kentucky. So I try to be conscientious about the items that go in the trash. While not woodworking specific, I tend to leave scrap metal items, old appliances, and furniture items that are not wood but usable out on the front lawn before garbage day. I put all hardware in a baggy and tape it to the associated items so anyone who needs it has all the components. 9 times out of 10, they will be gone the next day and in a new home. There are scrap metal collectors who scour the streets looking for metal they can sell to the yards for cash. I help those guys out when I can.

I remember setting out an old fridge one time, I had all the hardware in it and two guys in a truck screeched their brakes to take a look. I started to head out to offer them a hand. They freaked out, threw the fridge in the truck as fast as they could and sped away. I found the moment kind of funny, in a way, despite the fact that I believe they thought they were stealing from me.

Aside from my now infamous dumpster diving ;) I will save any usable wood that I pull out from house projects and the like. I replaced a dozen rotted cedar boards on my porch and found a good amount of craft wood for the scroll saw in those planks. A metal detector and a card scraper are my best friends for recycled wood. Nothing beats a scraper for taking off old finishes and dirt before running them through a machine.

A word of caution when it comes to using sawdust in planters. Keep in mind that some woods are actually poisonous to plants and instead of a garden growing in mulch, you might end up with a row of dead flowers.

Thanks for the meal for the mind,


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View TwistedRedneck's profile


41 posts in 3521 days

#8 posted 04-08-2010 02:17 PM

My thought about the sawdust in the planter is that it, sawdust, soaks up the water and holds on to it. That could be good. Seen a news broadcast once when I used to live in Washington State about Starbucks and SeaTac Airport teaming up and using the Starbucks used coffee grounds and mixing it with the landscape. Not wood but an interesting factoid.

One thing I did not mention is that using sawdust from your project mixed with some glue can make for a great filler for those nail holes you want to hide. Just make sure the glue is stain-able otherwise you end up with spots on your work that wont take the stain. Unfortunately that does not use that much sawdust and you still have a bunch of it left over.

-- Nails are better wood fasteners than screws, if both are applied using a hammer.

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 3013 days

#9 posted 04-10-2010 01:24 AM

I must admit that I don’t go out and collect reclaim lumber anymore. After having so much of it stacked around the yard going to waste I quit. I use to get a lot of lumber from my handyman business and from tearing down buildings for people. I seem to be a wood magnet and have a lot of wood given to me. Not to say that I don’t buy lumber though. I do reclaim my cut off scraps to use for smaller projects like drawer pulls and knobs, glue blocks, plugs, handles and the list goes on. I do keep a scrap box for the kids to have what ever is in the box. Having Hoarder tendencies I try to watch myself on what I collect, so I tell others I know who don’t have my problem. So when I say I need wood, people who know me look at me like I have 2 heads because of all the lumber I have now. As for the saw dust I try to find people who use it for bedding for their animals.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

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